Getting an old 3COM HomeConnect webcam to work under Linux

I have an old an dusty 3Com HomeConnect webcam. Until a few minutes ago, I thought it was dead. Not so! I plugged it in the USB port, and did

lsusb

and voilà:

Bus 001 Device 019: ID 04c1:009d U.S. Robotics (3Com) HomeConnect WebCam [vicam]

Ah! so Linux recognizes it and suggests the vicam driver, ok, there you go:

modprobe vicam

As a basis for comparison, I tried to connect the same thing to Windows XP and no luck. The only drivers available are 16 bits drivers and they won’t install.

In gnomemeeting, I now see an fuzzy image. After taking apart the lens of webcam and cleaning it up, the image is considerably better, but still very ugly.

I guess I have to buy a new webcam! This user-commented list seems like a good start to choose a new device for a Linux user, but the list of webcams supported by the SPCA5xx driver is impressive. It is still satisfying to know I’m buying new hardware because it is worn out, not because my OS won’t support it. BTW gnomemeeting is really great software.

Published by

Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the Université du Québec (TELUQ).

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